The backcourt of Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday combined for 46 points, 15 rebounds and 18 assists to lead the Sixers over the Celtics, 106-100, Friday night at TD Garden. Turner finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds while Holiday added 21 and 14 assists. Paul Pierce had 24 points while Kevin Garnett added 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The loss opened a stretch of seven games in 10 days for the Celtics, who fell to 2-3 on the season. Even without the injured Andrew Bynum (knee), the Sixers cut and slashed all night, outscoring the Celtics, 56-38, in the paint.
After scoring the first six points of the game, the Celtics went ice cold. Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee were a combined 6-for-8 but the rest of the team was 1-for-15 as the Sixers continued a trend of opposing teams taking advantage of the Celtics when Garnett goes to the bench.
With the Celtics up, 8-3, four minutes in, Garnett came out of the game. The Sixers went on a 16-6 run to catapult into the lead. The Celtics converted just 6-of-19 shots (31.6 percent) from the floor in the first, falling behind 23-20.
The defense was the primary problem in the second quarter as Philadelphia shot nearly 60 percent from the floor. The younger Sixers pressured the ball, forcing the Celtics into jump shots. Philadelphia opened the quarter by scoring the first eight points and built their lead to 16 with several layups before the Celtics scored the final four points before half. In a symbolic moment, Rondo fed Lee on a fast break chance, only to have Lee's layup blocked by Holiday at the buzzer, as the Sixers took a 57-45 lead at the half.
The Celtics made some headway in the third, getting as close as seven, 79-72, on a three by Jason Terry with a minute left. But Evan Turner responded with four points to give Philadelphia an 83-74 lead heading into the fourth.
The Celtics opened the fourth with an alley oop dunk by Garnett from Rondo to get the crowd going. The Celtics drew within four, 83-79, when Terry nailed another trey with 10:41 left. But the Sixers answered with the game's next 10 points to build the lead back to 14, 93-79. Pierce answered with a three and a jumper to get the lead back into single digits. The 7-0 run brought the game back to seven but the Sixers answered with a 7-2 run to push the lead back to 12, 100-88, highlighted by a Jrue Holiday corner three that sent many to the exits with just under five minutes left.
The Celtics made one final push, scoring the next six points to draw within six with two minutes left. But Turner hit a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left to seal the win for Philadelphia. Rondo finished with 14 points and 20 assists, giving him 27 straight games of at least 11 assists, matching John Stockton for the longest such streak in NBA history. Rondo also has 29 straight games of double-digit assists, tying Stockton for the third-longest streak in NBA history.
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